Ever since Puffling was short listed for the CBCA awards in 2009 and then was selected as the early Childhood picture book I have been fascinated by this little clown of the sea. In a couple of weeks I will have the very special opportunity to see some puffins first hand. This week we have been reading Puffling by Margaret Wild illustrated by Julie Vivas to our Kindergarten classes. You can guess I have a huge smile on my face. Picture above is from the National Geographic site.
Puffling is just such a perfect book. The illustrations are joyous, whimsical and at the same time seem very accurate. The pattern of the story is just so satisfying. Puffling asks Big Stripy Beak and Long Back Feather Am I strong enough, am I tall enough, am I brave enough? Just like a young child - his development will take time and nurture. Mum and dad diligently bring delicious fish and sand eels to their little baby and gradually he grows stronger, taller and braver until the day comes when he can leave the burrow to fend for himself. I love the way mum and dad check his bravery by listening to his heart. The Kindergarten children have all loved the idea of Puffling when "he popped his head out of the burrow. He stuck one leg out of the burrow. He waggled his bottom at the scary gulls, watching and waiting. But he remembered never to go right out of the burrow"
Here are a set of teaching notes for Puffling.
We have several books about puffins in our library. You can see their covers below. Nothing like a puffin is a gentle book that introduces very young children to some basic puffin facts - they can fly, they are black and white, they can swim and they are birds so they hatch from eggs. Puffin Peter is for an even younger audience and has exquisite illustrations. This book follows a similar pattern as Peter is lost at sea and enlists the help of a whale to help him find his friend Paul. Together they work out puffins are funny and noisy and black and white with colourful beaks. They are not parrots, or toucans or penguins - they are puffins!